November 20, 2014

Rodgers honored for service to VUSM, students

Hundreds of students gathered this week at a reception honoring Scott Rodgers, M.D., and his 10 years of service to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Scott Rodgers, M.D., right, shares a laugh with School of Medicine students at Tuesday’s reception honoring his service as associate dean for Medical Student Affairs. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Hundreds of students gathered this week at a reception honoring Scott Rodgers, M.D., and his 10 years of service to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

In his role as associate dean for Medical Student Affairs, Rodgers served as the primary student advocate and was responsible for programs that served the needs of individual medical students.

During his time at Vanderbilt, Rodgers has been credited with developing three nationally recognized programs designed to address the advising needs of the student body: advisory college, student wellness and careers in medicine.

“Scott definitely elevated the Office of Student Affairs to new heights,” said Bonnie Miller, M.D. associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs and senior dean for Health Sciences Education at Vanderbilt. “Student Affairs and the relationship between our students and the administration have always been strengths at Vanderbilt, but Scott’s programming put it at a new level.

“When he first took this post, one of the first things he asked was: what do you want me to do?” recalled Miller. “He took his charges very seriously and developed programming that went well beyond our expectations.”

Rodgers said he has enjoyed watching the programs evolve over the years and applauds the work of the students and the advisory college mentors for the growth and success of the programs. But what he loved the most about his time at Vanderbilt were the students.

“The ability to connect in a deep, meaningful way with each of the medical students is what stands out for me,” recalled Rodgers. “It is the greatest honor and privilege and is what made this job extraordinarily special.

“Students at Vanderbilt are amazing individuals. They are hardworking, intelligent, motivated, caring and nurturing people, and they trust us to guide them through their four years of training. Being able to work closely with more than 1,000 medical students has been one of the greatest joys of my life. It is what I will miss most when I leave.”

Rodgers, a 1994 VUSM graduate, joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2000 as an assistant professor of Psychiatry and took on the additional responsibilities of directing the second-year psychiatry course and the third-year medical student clerkship and heading up the Pediatric Consultation/Liaison Service. In 2005 he was appointed assistant dean, replacing Miller, who took the role of associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education.

Rodgers will be returning to his professional roots to chair the Department of Psychiatry for the medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Amy Fleming, M.D., associate professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt, has been selected to succeed Rodgers as associate dean for Medical Student Affairs.

Rodgers said Fleming is “well respected, admired and loved by the medical students. It will be a seamless transition to new leadership.”

A believer in Vanderbilt’s “long-held mission of creating compassionate and caring people who will provide outstanding care to patients,” Rodgers said that foundation was the basis for his work while dean for students.

Scott Zuckerman, M.D., a 2012 VUSM graduate, said Rodgers’ work with the students left a lasting impression.

“Dean Rodgers’ impact on student quality of life and residency opportunities was immense,” said Zuckerman, a third-year Neurosurgery resident at Vanderbilt. “The individual attention and support he gave each graduating student to help find a specialty and residency that best suited them was unparalleled.

“Now, three years out of school, I can confidently say there is no medical school in the country quite like Vanderbilt.”